I’ve been a long time lurker on FT. It’s about time I stepped up!
We are pretty staunchly loyal customers of the FS. This summer, we decided to avail of the Season of Discovery package at Amanyara – instead of the FS Nevis. We booked with DavidO.
The great attraction with Amanyara was that we didn't have to fly over to Africa or Asia to Amanjena or Amanpulo or Amanwana with one toddler and one infant in tow.
The flights on First with US Air were abysmal and not worth mentioning except that our FA on the flight from CLT to PLS provided excellent and fun service to everyone in F. And I didn’t realize we would not have access to the lounge in CLT either, in spite of First tickets.
Onward then … we were picked up right after the chaos at PLS airport in a new air conditioned Land Rover LR4 SUV. We were then presented with cold towels with a faint flowery scent and cold bottles of water. Very thoughtful, considering that the A/C at the airport was not working.
The driver was friendly but very polite and this was welcome. We also were presented a playlist menu to decide what kind of music to play in the car. We chose the ambient/relaxation – essentially Café Del Mar for those of you familiar with it.
We were welcomed by the GRM, the assistant GM, the chef and the naturalist – three of whom I had already communicated with via Email beforehand regarding our preferences. Cold scented towels and welcome drinks (grapefruit for us and watermelon for the kids) were at hand.
We were given a quick tour of the resort by yet another lady who I will refer to as M. She knew we were tired from the redeye from SFO, so we were spared a grand tour and I appreciated that.
No check in and no waiting at a lobby – brilliant – because even with the suites at the FS, we always need to check in and that is a pain especially after a long journey with kids.
On arrival at the room, we had the customary bowl of fresh fruit and champagne.
Our contact at the resort was this brilliant young lady, and she took really good care of us from the first day until the last.
From Ericka’s report, I gathered Ocean Pavilion 129 was the place to be, so we requested it – it was never confirmed but lo and behold – that is exactly where we ended up! Thanks - Ericka!
Pic: Entry and Welcome area
Pic: front ocean view
Pic: Right Hand side of open view pavilion
Pic: Left Hand side of open view pavilion
Pic: Tub for the toddler plus California Baby bath products
I absolutely loved the pavilion – it did remind me a lot of Indonesia. The only con was that since there was no separate area for the shower and loo, my wife was woken up at times by me taking a shower after an early snorkeling trip, etc.
We are food fanatics so I’m going to dwell on the topic a bit here …
We had a late lunch at the restaurant where I had the rib-eye burger and my wife had a chicken burger. The kids had F&C. Everyone was thrilled to bits with the food at lunch. The chef Fritz came by to check on us and we assured him we loved the food.
For the next four days, we always had one glitch or the other at breakfast since my wife has some dietary restrictions, but let me just say it was all sorted out perfectly to our satisfaction.
For my birthday, they sent along a chocolate mousse cake at 11 pm without my name, which seemed to be an afterthought to me, as opposed to a planned event. I am getting to the point with age - where I don’t want everyone to make a big fuss so no big deal, really.
For lunch and dinner, the food was pretty close to perfect and authentic to our palate. It didn’t matter what we chose, I would venture that this is easily between one and two Michelin-level food.
The balance in flavours was simply amazing. We ordered room service every single day because we preferred the privacy and didn’t want to ruin other guests’ experience if our little lion acted up – terrible two’s indeed.
Here are items I can remember right off the bat, that stood out:
Jamon Iberico with pistachio rocks
Tuna tataki with citrus glaze
Beef Carpaccio with crispy onion
Spinach salad with scallop and bacon vinaigrette
Arugula tossed with truffle oil and local sea salt
Chicken dumpling soup with Asian vegetables
Grilled Snake River steak with fried risotto balls – perfectly cooked to my liking – rare!
Lamb Loin with Ras El Hanout spices – this was well-cooked, but a bit too much gristle
And let me say the pizzas were outstanding as well – the tomato sauce was made with San Marzano tomatoes from Italy
Thai curries were all beyond amazing – authentic to the core.
On most days we had the flourless chocolate cake or the strawberry ice cream with caramelized bananas or fruit platter
Whilst on the subject, I saw Marco Pierre White on the property!
The children thoroughly enjoyed the beach, sand castles, the shallow parts of the pool. And we discovered my daughter loves to play and is great at tennis!
One of the employees Tina even made my daughter a lovely tiara – for our little princess.
I loved snorkeling and indulged every single day and alternated between yoga and tennis as well.
The yoga teacher J taught me more in 10 days - than I learned in Nor Cal during the previous 10 years.
My wife loved the spa – and her masseuse was beyond excellent.
They organized a special dinner for my son’s birthday at the famed Villa 33 –complete with a Moroccan chef where we had authentic Chicken Tajine, Bisteeya, Couscous and eggplant followed by crepes and another Moroccan dessert.
Because we stayed for so long, the F&B Manager N organized Mexican and Indian dinner for us at no extra charge, since he surmised we were a bit tired of the items on the menu.
Pic: A rainy welcome shower – warm rain!
Pic: Walkway to restaurant
Pic: Wet outdoor seating at the restaurant
Pic: One of the best bar locations in the world
We loved the place so much we extended our stay by another 5 days! They were also able to extend us in the same room, in spite of having another booking for the same room. Hope that was not another FT’er – if so look me up when in SF and I will treat you to the best martini in the world here.
A major glitch did occur but it was sorted out by the on-duty staff very quickly. We were almost immediately ushered to another room – a pool pavilion, which to me was not impressive, since it doesn’t face the ocean, it could be anywhere in the world.
Finally, for our last night we were upgraded to the suite pavilion – will add those pictures later. I liked the idea of a huge private pool but once again, we could have been anywhere in the world – not necessarily on Turks and Caicos.
I never saw or met the GM, as some of you have reported. I happened to chat to some fellow Brits and they also mentioned not seeing the GM - perhaps the chap was on holiday elsewhere!
Bottom line, we all loved our 15-day stay and would definitely return. But then again, there are another two dozen Aman properties around the world
PM me for names if you would like the information. A few of you have already done so.